Mother ‘heartbroken’ for kids who went to embattled day care

Mother ‘heartbroken’ for kids who went to embattled day care

SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A mother who sent her son to a Cedar Springs-area day care says she is grateful its license has been revoked.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs revoked Monkey Run Day Care’s license on Tuesday. 

Hilary Miller began taking her son Colin there in January. 

“I was in a pinch last minute to find a day care and when I was recommended this place by a couple people, and they had an opening for an infant, I jumped on it and when I went there everything looked clean and nice and safe,” Miller said.

Miller learned this week that Thomas Cronkright, who was operating the day care with his wife, was arrested. He is accused of assaulting his wife while three children were in the home, then pointing a gun at her while she was holding an 8-month-old child.

The state has suspended the license of a Cedar Springs-area home child care, located on Solon Street NE near Division Avenue NE in Solon Township. (May 3, 2023)

“I was heartbroken for the kids there. I was thankful that my baby wasn’t there anymore,” Miller said.

Police say Cronkright has multiple convictions for misdemeanor assault and for driving under the influence. He is also accused of using meth.

State: Cedar Springs-area day care license revoked over assault allegations

“I feel like everything could have been prevented had it been looked into sooner,” Miller said. 

Miller started sending her son Colin there in January and says after a few days she started noticing some issues.

“A few days after he started going they were using other kids’ bottles, using the wrong diapers, sending him home with different pacifiers,” Miller said.

She kept bringing up her concerns with the owners but says it kept happening.

“I got a message that we weren’t a good fit for them and to come pick Colin up by noon and so … when I went there, they had his things in a bag,” Miller said.

Miller asked about his formula and was given a container.

“They had this dirty mason jar of formula with hair in it and clumps and just — it was disgusting,” Miller said.

Miller provided News 8 with a photo of the top of a bottle, which was discolored, indicating a lack of proper cleaning.

Hilary Miller says when Monkey Run Day Care returned her son’s baby formula, the jar was dirty and it had hair in it. (Courtesy)

Hilary Miller says when Monkey Run Day Care returned her son’s baby formula, the jar was dirty and it had hair in it. The top of the bottle was discolored. (Courtesy)

She said Cronkright pushed and swore at her on March 22, which was her son’s last day there.

“Tom started to shut the door on the baby and I in the doorway when I shoved it open so he didn’t shut it, he started to physically push me out the door,” Miller said.

Miller is still looking for child care and does not know how she will be able to trust another provider.

“I was just shocked. I felt let down by LARA. I felt let down because I trusted that because they were licensed that it would be a safe place and knowing that he has that history of assault charges multiple, and multiple other charges. I knew he should not be around children,” Miller said.

News 8 contacted the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to answer questions regarding the day care and the inspection process but have not received a response.

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